As a glider pilot with about 220 flying hours, I finally decided to take the jump and start my Private Pilot training in June 2018. In this series, I share my experiences of getting my Private Pilot License in Belgium. From preparing for my first lesson, to my first solo flights and ultimately my checkride. I hope these articles will be able to help you get the most out of your own flight training!
Before starting my first flying lesson, I'll need to have some basic gear like every (student) pilot.
The most important accessory you'll need as a student pilot is an aviation headset. While doing research for my Best Aviation Headsets guide here on Hangar.Flights, I found some great information to help decide which headset to buy when starting out.
When first starting out, most student pilots (including me) unfortunately don't have $1000 to spare on a Bose headset. Although comfortable and nice to have, that kind of money can pay for quite a few flying lessons, which is my priority right now.
So while creating this guide, I came across some new companies making great headsets. Like most people, I knew about the Bose headsets, the ones from David Clark, Sennheiser, Lightspeed,... But there are a lot of other great options on the market right now!
Since I'll be flying piston aircraft during my training, I want to make sure my ears are well protected with preferably an ANR (Active Noise Reduction) headset. To be able to fly or more than an hour without getting a headache, the headset should also be comfortable enough with not too much clamping force on my head. I own a cheap ASA HS1 headset, which works great, but I don't quite like the clamping force on my head and ears after using it for longer than 45 minutes.
For my flight training, I decided to buy the Faro G2 ANR headset. The G2 offers ANR, comfortable leather ear seals and even an aux MP3/iPhone audio input and all of that for less than $400. I wrote a review about the headset which will be completed after my first flights with it!
Some other gear you will need includes a kneeboard, a fuel tester, a checklist of the aircraft type you'll be flying, a logbook and of course the obvious things like descent sunglasses. I also bought a handheld aviation radio for safety on the ground, as a backup and to listen to and learn from ATC calls.
Below are some of the products I personally use and recommend:
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Besides all the above, I will also be using my GoPro camera to record some of my flying lessons for educational purposes and to share here on HF. In addition to my camera, I also want to record some of the conversations with my instructor during flight and the ATC calls and conversations to listen to again later and learn from. For this, I'll be using a special adapter where I can plug in my iPhone between my headset and the aircraft's intercom.
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To organize and protect all your gear, you will also need a good flight bag. I recently created a guide that lists the best flight bags for every type of pilot.
I have ordered the Flight Outfitters Lift Travel Bag myself and I'm waiting for it to arrive. It has all the features I need and it looks great as well! (Update: it arrived and I LOVE it!)
The last accessories I will use is some flight simulator gear to train at home. I hope this will help me train more efficiently and lose less time in the air. For this, I'll be using Microsoft Flight Simulator X with the Saitek Pro Flight yoke and throttle quadrant, which will be perfect since I'll be flying the Piper Tomahawk with the same type of yoke and throttle controls. I will mainly use flight sim to practice procedures and navigation.
In the next post, I'll talk about my first flying lessons!